Are White Strips Bad For Your Teeth? Everything You Need to Know

  • by GR0
  • 7 min read

If you are looking for a way to whiten your teeth in the comfort of your own home, teeth whitening strips may seem like a good option. They are widely available and you may be able to find them in plenty of stores near you… but the truth is, they may not be the safest. 

When it comes to at-home methods of whitening your teeth using over-the-counter products, there are plenty of products that use harsh, harmful chemicals to bleach your teeth, and this can cause damage to your teeth over time. 

Generally, if you follow the instructions on the packaging for the specific product you are using, you may be able to whiten your teeth without damaging them. That said, there are still some products that instruct you to use the product more often than is ideal, and in these cases, you just might end up with sensitive, or even damaged, teeth (see 'Teeth Whitening Pens vs Strips vs Bleaching').

This is your complete guide to the risks that teeth whitening strips might pose to your teeth, how to avoid harmful ingredients, and what safe alternatives exist so that you can still get the bright white smile of your dreams.

Potential Risks Associated With Teeth Whitening Strips

Let’s get one thing straight: there are many commercially available whitening products, not just whitening strips, that have a risk of causing damage to your teeth. Whitening strips are only one common culprit, so it is important to look out for harsh ingredients regardless of which type of whitening product you are choosing. 

In many cases, the active ingredient in teeth whitening strips is hydrogen peroxide or another bleaching chemical. While hydrogen peroxide is generally safe in lower concentrations, many whitening strip products contain very concentrated peroxide, and this is when the trouble starts. These high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can dodamage to your teeth by weakening the dentin in your teeth. Essentially, your dentin is the bone-like tissue that lies beneath your tooth’s harder, outermost layer, which is your enamel. The dentin is what makes up the bulk of each of your teeth, and it contains very high levels of protein. In fact, it is almost entirely collagen. 

Dentin Damage

So, how do whitening strips factor in here?Some studies have shown that whitening strips may cause the collagen in your dentin to decrease, or, in other words, a decrease in the overall protein that makes up your dentin layer. It all comes down to whether or not your whitening strips contain ingredients that are able to penetrate your tooth enamel. If so, these ingredients can wreak havoc on the proteins in your teeth.

Tooth Sensitivity and Gingival Irritation

Aside from doing damage to the dentin in your teeth, whitening strips are also associated with teeth sensitivity as well as gingival irritation. With most commercially available whitening strips and other whitening products, you are almost sure to experiencesensitive teeth or gum irritation as a result, and this is thanks to harsh, toxic bleaching chemicals. Sensitivity and irritation may also be the result of whitening trays that do not fit correctly, or whitening products that offer uneven coverage. 

These kinds of adverse effects are also more likely to happen if you use whitening products more frequently, which means that whitening products which call for less frequent usage may be better than whitening products that instruct you to go through the procedure every day. Tooth sensitivity and gingival irritation are also much more likely to occur when your whitening strips contain very high concentrations of active ingredients, and the risk decreases when concentrations are lower. 

Tooth sensitivity may start within two to three days after beginning to use the product, and how long it lasts will depend on if you do or do not continue to use the same product, as well as how frequently you are using it. Research has shown that using lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth may result in less sensitivity, and may even give you better results. 

High concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can also irritate your gums and mouth due to prolonged contact, and this issue, too, can generally be resolved or avoided by opting for whitening products with lower concentrations of active ingredients like hydrogen peroxide.

So, now you know why whitening strips may not be a great choice, but what can you do to whiten your teeth safely? Let’s take a look.

Safe Alternatives To Conventional Whitening Products

As mentioned, both tooth sensitivity and gum or mouth irritation are the most common adverse effects of conventional whitening products, and your risk of experiencing these effects increases if you are using products with high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. 

That said, opting for products with lower, safer concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can help ensure that you get the bright, white smile of your dreams without having to worry about painful, uncomfortable sensitive teeth… and this is whereDr. Brite comes in.

Dr. Brite offers a wide variety of teeth whitening products that are free of the harsh, toxic bleaching chemicals that many commercially available products contain. Additionally, it makes use of low, safe concentrations of hydrogen peroxide so that you can get results you can trust, but without the sensitivity and irritation caused by many conventional products. 

We offer amultitude of whitening pens aimed at treating different types of tooth stains so that you can pick the product that has been specially formulated for the issue you are dealing with, and our whitening pens are enamel-safe and call for only 5 minutes of whitening treatment per day. 

Additionally, Dr. Brite’s oral care products are free from sulfates, parabens, and phthalates, and they are made with non-GMO ingredients so you can rest assured that you are getting effective and safe teeth whitening. 

Aside from whitening pens, you also have the option of whitening toothpaste, whitening mouthwash, or ourExtreme Whitening Kit which includes a variety of whitening products for you to try out. This is a great option if you are not sure where to start and want to test out a few different options before choosing one product for long-term use. These whitening products are also safe to use on caps, veneers, braces, crowns, and bridges, and the whitening kit has been proven to show similar results to professional whitening treatments.

With any whitening product, it is critical to follow the instructions included in the packaging, and this is especially important when you are using a whitening product with potentially harmful chemicals in it. 

Whitening your teeth too frequently, or leaving the whitening product on your teeth for too long, can cause some damage, so take care to follow directions or consult your dentist if anything seems unclear. 

Additionally, visiting your dentist and having a professional whitening procedure done may be another safe alternative to the harsh chemicals used in many commercially available products, but you should inquire about whether or not the whitening products that will be used have high concentrations of their active ingredients.

If you choose whitening strips with natural ingredients as opposed to the harmful chemicals that are typically used, they may be safe, but if you determine that the risk just is not worth it in your case, Dr. Brite has you covered with our variety of whitening pens, toothpaste, mouthwashes, and other products using safer, natural ingredients.

The Bottom Line

Teeth-whitening strips are widely available and widely used, but although they are highly convenient, they may be doing more harm than good. Conventional teeth whitening strips typically use very high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or other bleaching chemicals in order to whiten your teeth and remove stains, and while these chemicals might get the job done, they also might be leaving you behind with irreversible damage to your teeth. 

More specifically, high concentrations of chemicals like hydrogen peroxide can damage the dentin in your teeth, which is the protein-dense part of your tooth that is behind your enamel. Studies have shown that even brief contact with high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can largely reduce the number of proteins in your dentin, and because the dentin mostly consists of protein, this can cause trouble.

That said, safer alternatives to conventional teeth whitening strips do exist and may be a great way to continue achieving your desired results without the added risks. Dr. Brite offers a variety of products that can help you get the bright white smile of your dreams, but these products are free of harsh, toxic chemicals, and they make use of safe concentrations of hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth without causing painful or uncomfortable sensitivity.


1. Can White Strips damage teeth?

What are the risks of using Crest 3D White Whitestrips? How are they different from other types of teeth whitening products? Using this product as instructed will not harm your teeth whitening. Whitening agents are the same as those used in professional whitening solutions.

2. Why do my teeth hurt after whitening strips?

The hydrogen peroxide in numerous over-the-counter whitening treatments causes sensitivity. Indeed, certain whitening treatments may include stronger peroxide concentrations, which may result in increased sensitivity.

3. How long will my teeth hurt after whitening strips?

In spite of teeth whitening causing sensitivity during the first 24 to 48 hours, it is typically temporary.

4. Should I stop using whitening strips if my teeth hurt?

There is a possibility that some persons may develop tooth sensitivity when using this or other whitening solutions. The strips should be used daily and biweekly if tooth sensitivity or gum irritation i severe. The strips should be stopped if the condition continues.

5. Should I brush my teeth after whitening strips?

The use of whitening strips can be safely followed by brushing and flossing. The results of the whitening treatment won't be affected. The manufacturers recommend that this step be taken gradually. Doing so will ease gum inflammation.


Teeth Whitening Strips May Damage Your Teeth More Than Brighten Them | Study

Teeth whitening: Cost, Methods, and Safety | Authority Dental

Teeth whitening products Can Harm Protein-Rich Tooth Layer | Science Daily